This article is part of Pixeljam’s 10 Year Anniversary MEGAMONTH, and we’re doing a semi-chronological retrospective on every one of our games each day of the week. You can read them all HERE.
The last in the collection of 8-bit rejects was Mountain Maniac. The idea here was “enraged mountain man boulder pachinko with pinball physics and explosions”. Sounds awesome doesn’t it? This one is still one our very favorites.
Rich’s original concept sketch
I’m also going to talk about its sequel, Mountain Maniac Xmas, killing two birds with one telepathically-controlled boulder. Some memories from development:
-I was pushing for the original to be zoomed way out so you could see a lot of the chain reactions the boulder caused. Rich insisted that we zoom in to give the game more urgency and speed. We ended up zooming in, and I think that was the right decision. You don’t really have tons of control over the boulder, and not being able to see much around you adds to the feeling of helplessness and chaos.
We’ve all wanted to do this, right? RIGHT?.
-Rich handled the art direction and a lot of the production, but Graham Lackey created a lot of additional sprites.
All maniacs have to face the law (or a SWAT team) eventually.
-The Xmas version contained our first-ever cutscene, in which we see the troubling story of why the Mountain Maniac so desperately needs revenge upon Santa Claus and his entire Christmas village. Really Santa, you had it coming.
-Mark DeNardo created the memorable music for the title screen, but I got to cut my teeth on game music with a suite of minor-key Christmas Classics. I REALLY loved doing this… check back here in a day or so for some samples!
This doesn’t end well.
-Adult Swim also produced a fantastic commercial for the game: